There are plenty of excellent reviews on BGG that inventory components and detail the game mechanics, so, rather than reduplicate these efforts or summarize basic information about the game, this brief review outlines my impressions in the hope that it will give prospective players a sense of what to expect. Since reviews are useless without some sense of the tastes/prejudices of the reviewer, I'll begin by saying that I have a strong predilection for thematic/atmospheric games with maps and/or miniatures. I also prefer games that emphasize direct player interaction through mechanics such as bluffing and hidden information that require players to "read" their opponent's intentions and respond dynamically.
The telepath is super creepy, but
he's good against the colossus.
Most of the miniatures avoid falling into stereotypical fantasy tropes and are easy to tell apart on the board; even FFG pieces aren't this highly detailed. The cards are a little on the flimsy side, but the board tiles are sturdy and beautifully illustrated. The evocative hand drawn artwork on the action and combat cards is significantly diluted by the cartoony drawings, computer renders of the characters, and photographs of painted miniatures throughout the rule book, on the cards, and on the tokens. Despite some questionable artistic choices, the graphic design works pretty well overall.
Rules and Mechanics
Even if the blue naga flips his
maximum combat +6, he'll still
only have 8 against the 9 of the
colossus. The naga might as well
throw in a low card.
The rules are introduced in a series of increasingly complex scenarios that ramp up to the full game, which really helps to learn the game in manageable segments. While the rules are clear, it's obvious that the designers never asked a native English speaker proofread and edit them. Luck is almost absent from the game (the initial board tile setup is the only luck-driven element of the game). Because every turn is a brain burning puzzle, using timed turns might help keep folks prone to analysis paralysis from losing their minds and everyone else from losing their patience. The solo scenarios are puzzle-like and a bit bland.
This game feels like the progeny of chess and the aMAZEing Labyrinth, but with better components and theme, and so manages to offer something to players who like abstract strategy games as well as those who prefer more narrative or atmospheric games. Player interaction is high and there are always plenty of options to consider on each turn. The flexibility and subtlety of these decisions and the game mechanics make this a complicated, rich, and satisfying strategy game of spatial reasoning, so don't expect lots of jovial table talk as you play. In this game, you silently concentrate on devious ways to mess with your opponent's plans and annihilate them in combat or sneak past them. In this sense, I wouldn't describe this game as "fun" so much as satisfying. Every turn feels tense but the successful execution of a chain of activations is rewarding. Anyone looking for a challenging strategy game with decent component chrome should give this game a try.
4 actions will be enough for the cleric and naga to move up and take out the mekanork
in the background.
This wizard is planning to use the fireball wand to one-shot the colossus.
- Last edited Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:43 pm (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:03 pm